BODYTALK AND MENTAL WELLBEING
From a talk presented to the South West Holistic Health Network June 2019 on the topic of 'Mental Health and Wellbeing'
None of us are an island
We are not in isolation to each other, but are in constant relationship with our communities, families and wider environment. So how does this relate to mental and emotional health?
There is an interconnectedness we all share, a sameness despite our differences. Issues arise when we start to think we are seperate, and alone. Also when we become attached to our issues or diagnosis ‘my depression, my anxiety’.
If I have learnt one thing from being a BodyTalk practitioner it is we are all very, very similar, and although the symptoms may look very different on the surface, the root cause of the issues are common to all of us.
So how can we become healthier, in body and mind?
From a BodyTalk perspective everything is all related and dynamically interlinked. Our body is a dynamic system that is in constant communication with every other part of our body. This includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our entire being.
It is all interlinked.
We are also in dynamic relationship with our wider environment, our families, animals, towns, cities, countries, the entire globe. So how can we look at mental and emotional health without taking into account the health of the entire world, the human world as well as the plants, microbes, soils and animals.
This way of looking at things isn’t new, it is familiar to every indigenous community on Earth, and countries which have a strong connection to indigenous healing methods and philosophy have rapidly taken to the BodyTalk System of Healthcare.
BodyTalk is one way of looking at restoring health to a dynamic system, and the way this is done is by asking the body what is keeping it from balancing itself, bringing those factors into awareness which then allows the body to do it’s own natural healing work.
We see emotions as a form of fuel for the body, a way of thinking familiar to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 5 main emotion domains correspond with the internal organs and energy systems.
Anger relates to the liver and gallbladder
Grief relates to the Lung and Large Intestine
Joy and Sadness relate to the Heart and Small Intestine
Worry and Anxiety relate to the Spleen and Stomach
Fear relate to the Bladder and Kidneys.
The problem isn’t the emotion, rather the belief which dictates how the emotion is dealt with or stored in the body which can impact postural holding patterns of the skeleton and muscles. For example if you ask a depressed person how they feel, often they will indicate a heaviness or depressed feeling around the heart and chest area.
Alongside regular intake forms, I have been using a 7 questions Socio-emotional wellbeing scale for the past 12 months. Clients undertake a series of 3 sessions with the scale review taken before and 2 weeks after their last session. A change of 4 points indicated a change within socio-emotional and mental wellbeing.
Clients have reported changes of 6-20 points with an average shift of 12 points from 13 clients who consented to participate in the study.
According to the people who created the scale, a change of 4 points indicates a positive change in Socio-Emotional wellbeing, so 12 point average is a very significant change after only 3 sessions. There were also significant changes to body pain observed throughout the study in many of the participant. I use this scale alongside other intake information to assess changes throughout the process, and use to to assist clients to become aware of their own internal and external changes.
Many people report that they don’t quite know how they have changed but there is a significant change on many different levels. It is common to see body pain drastically reduced, changes to emotional states, postural changes, and ways of thinking about themselves and the world shift. A lot of changes are related to shifts in the attachment the person has about themselves, their identity and the world around them. When they change on the inside, their relationship to the world around them changes.
By working in this way with a single client, one small change can make dramatically larger changes that ripple out to their wider environment.
Their stress levels change, their relationships change, the way they go about their work and relationship with colleagues can change.
Recent feedback from a client was ‘I used to wear makeup to go out, and now I don’t care about it. I am fine with being me’.